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Willmar relative identifies stabbing victim, say suspect is grandson

A law enforcement officer stand outside the house at 431 13th St. N.W. in Willmar, where a stabbing occurred Thursday morning. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton.

By Gretchen Schlosser and Carolyn Lange

WILLMAR — Relatives of the 64-year-old woman stabbed this morning 431 13th St. N.W. in Willmar have identified her as Maria Garcia.

The relatives also say that the 19-year-old suspect in the case, for whom Willmar police are searching, is Garcia’s grandson, according to information gathered by Carolyn Lange, Tribune reporter on the scene.

The man was not in the residence this morning when law enforcement officers stormed the home, according to Willmar Police Chief Jim Felt. A search warrant was sought for another residence, Felt said. The address of that home was not disclosed by the police.

Felt said earlier the police department continues to believe that there is no threat to public safety. However, if the man is not found soon, he will be identified and the public will be asked to help locate him.

According to Felt, woman was stabbed just after 8 a.m. this morning and ran to a neighboring residence to seek assistance. She was taken to Rice Memorial Hospital for treatment of injuries. She was expected to be airlifted by Life Link helicopter to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale. The name of the woman has not been confirmed by law enforcement.

The suspect was believed to be in the home and officers blocked off streets along 13th Street and Ella Avenue before using the “peacekeeper” reinforced vehicle to get close to the home before entering the residence. The streets have since been opened to traffic.